Born Eleanor DeSipio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sands’s father was an opera singer, and she received classical training with the hopes of one day performing at the Met. By 1955, she was working the club and cabaret circuit in the northeastern United States and in Canada. As she gained notice for appearances on local television in Philadelphia in the mid-fifties, Sands also began working with Bob Marcucci—who also discovered Fabian—and Peter DeAngelis at Chancellor Records. After that, it appears she focused her career mainly on popular music.
Her breakaway hit was “With All My Heart,” an English-language take on Dalida’s “Gondolier” (which was written by Marcucci and DeAngelis), with a male quartet backing her in Italian. The record reached #20 on Billboard‘s “Top 100” list in 1957. While the song itself was not very rock and roll, its popularity put Sands in the spotlight at a time when many promoters were looking for a “girl singer” to round out their rock and roll bills. She became part of Alan Freed’s regular cohort of performers in 1957, appearing on the shows he produced at the Paramount Theater alongside stars like Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, the Everly Brothers, and Frankie Lymon. She also toured to Hawaii with Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, and Paul Anka. In 1957, she was cast in the quasi-concert film Jamboree, which featured several of rock and roll’s biggest stars, including Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Sands—who already operated in the same circles as Fabian and Frankie Avalon—appeared well-positioned to capitolize on the “teen idol” phenomenon of the late fifties and early sixties. In 1962, Sid Fisher (brother of Eddie Fisher) took an interest in her career and became her manager. She signed with ABC-Paramount records and cut several sides for the label, although ultimately none really took off.
Sands continued to perform in clubs into the 1970s, and she also taught private voice lessons.
“With All My Heart” / “(Can’t We Be) More Than Only Friends.” Chancellor C-1003 (1957)
“(Please Don’t Say) Sayonara (Goodbye)” / “If You’re Not Completely Satisfied.” Chancellor (1957).
“Uno Momento (One Moment)” / “We Had Words.” ABC-Paramount 45-10337 (1962).
“Singer to Appear at Cabaret Night,” Daily Journal (New Jersey), 27 September 1955.
Helen Bolstad, “What Have They Got Against Girl Singers?” TV Radio Mirror, July 1957, 46–49 and 83–85.
Wayne Harada, “R&R Stars Hold Teen Press Conference,” Honolulu Advertiser, 2 February 1958.
Advertisement, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5 February 1958.
“Jodie Sands Once Studied for Career in the Opera,” Daily Journal (New Jersey), 24 September 1959.
Jerry Gaghan, “Sands of Time Pay Off for Jodie Sands,” Philadelphia Daily News, 9 May 1962.
Classified advertisement, Philadelphia Daily News, 15 June 1967.